The Art of Screen Printing

Image: Marilyn Monroe, harborgraphics.infoFrom the delicate and empyrean portraits of the Song Dynasty to Andy Warhol’s meretricious and iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe, screen printing is a striking and beautiful art with a rich and variegated history. Furthermore it is relatively accessible, so if you are looking to try your hand at a new craft then give screen printing a go and create your own iconic images.

In the beginning

A versatile and utilitarian process that can be achieved with basic and rudimentary materials, it is not surprising that the technique can be traced back to 960 AD China. The influence of this striking and effective art form would soon spread throughout Asia eventually making its way to western countries in the 1700s (following in the footsteps of Tea). The process was revolutionised in the early 1900s and in 1962 screen printing was given a 20th century pop-cultural makeover when Andy Warhol added his famous screen print to the many immortalisations of Marilyn Monroe.

Old Chinese print

What is it and how does it work?

In its most basic form screen printing is the process of printing an ink based image onto material (including canvas) using a screen, mesh, ink, a stencil and a squeegee. Companies using screen printing on a large scale will use big, specially-designed machines for effective printing en masse, but for your small-scale home use the process is relatively simple.

Sounds great! When can I start and what should I do?

You can start right away, but start small. Think cushion covers, tea towels or T-Shirts. You should begin by making a stencil for your image, and remember that the quality will need to be good – this is the image you will see in print. Then you will need to purchase some specialist screen printing ink (available on-line or from most art and crafts shops) and a mesh screen – or alternatively you could make your own screen by stretching and stapling mesh onto an old wooden canvas frame (if you have any unused cheap blank canvasses or old shop bought canvasses that you are planning on throwing out this would be ideal – and cheaper). Make sure the mesh is as tight as possible or you could end up with a badly distorted image. For a relatively cheap price you can purchase a squeegee from an arts and craft shop. This is the instrument you will use to pass the ink across the mesh, but if you have a flat, square piece of plastic or Perspex with a smooth, firm edge this could work just as well.

Now to apply the ink

Screen printingApply masking tape around the edges of the underside of your screen. This should be the side touching the fabric, because when you lay your stencil on top there should be no mesh visible around the edges. Position the stencil on the fabric and place the screen over it, but make sure the stencil (which shouldn’t be fixed to the fabric) does not move. The quantity of ink you will need to use will vary depending on the size of the stencil or the density of the material you are using. For a relatively small image on a cotton T-shirt or tea towel the amount of ink you use should fit in the palm of your hand (but please don’t measure it with your actual hand!) Place the ink at the top edge of the screen and use one hand to secure the screen. Then use the other hand to drag the ink (with the squeegee) at a slight angle across the mesh.

When you start your little screen printing enterprise make sure you stock up on a good quantity of cheap fabric – there will be a lot of trial and error involved. It is an easy craft to take up, but perfecting it may take a little longer. However perfecting these basics will give you a solid base to start experimenting with more complicated and sophisticated methods. Persevere with it though because the rewards will be worth it; unique, haute couture items that no one else will have – and you will never have to buy another Christmas or birthday present again.

Vicky Dean works alongside www.stuartmorris.co.uk, a screen-printing studio in Suffolk. She is an avid arts and crafts lover and enjoys painting with watercolours, making greetings cards and sewing with vintage fabrics!

Neanderthals – The World’s First Artists

Last year, the world’s oldest cave art was found. Many of you reading this may think that this is all fake, but a team of archaeologists found these paintings in a Spanish cave called El Castillo, meaning ‘castle’ in Spanish, as well as 10 other caves in Northern Spain.

Cave art - 30,000 - 40,000 year old
Cave art – 30,000 – 40,000 year old

Archaeologists believe that these crimson paintings may not have been created by humans, but by Neanderthals. They are thought to have been living in Europe until 30,000 or 40,000 years ago and modern humans arrived around the same time the Neanderthals died out.

Scientists have doubted for a very long time whether Neanderthals were capable of creating symbolic art. But since some new evidence has come to light over the recent years, that opinion had started to change. The evidence that came about last year of patterns of dots, hands and animals were found painted on the cave walls and are now know as the world’s oldest cave art, dating back to more than 40,800 years ago, taking the lead over France’s Chauvet cave paintings believed to be at least 37,000 years old.

Alistair Pike, the study’s lead author and archaeologist at the University of Bristol and his team slowly worked out the dates by using a method that relies on knowing the rates of decay in uranium – specifically in calcium deposits that had formed over the paint. The mineral based paint that was used cannot be dated because it does no contain uranium nor the carbon need for radiocarbon dating.

These findings in Spain are not the first, earlier last year, archaeologists found a 42,000 year old Neanderthal cave painting in Malaga, Spain, but this evidence is controversial according to Pike. Apparently this evidence came about after they dated some charcoal from a fire on the cave floor and then linked the dating to the paintings on the walls.

“All that shows is that someone lit a fire in the cave 42,000 years ago, but they’ve linked it to the paintings. And we think that’s absolutely mad”, said Pike.

Although opinions are changing, Paul Bahn, a cave art expert who is a member of the Archaeological Institute of America said that many scholars still consider Neanderthals to be brutish savages but believes that almost all objective scholars now fully accept Neanderthal art.

Study co-author Joao Zilhao went a step further in suggesting that there is no distinction between Neanderthals and modern humans if they are proven to be responsible for the art. It adds to the evidence that Neanderthals were a European racial variant of Homo sapiens and that they are not a distinct species and the new findings will help narrow the distance between the cultural evolution of Neanderthals and modern humans.

So is this a giant leap for Neanderthal kind? Although most of the paintings were stylistically simple disks and hand stencils, the study team also found figurative art of animals mainly horses and bison, which dates to after the extinction of Neanderthals. Study team member Paul Pettitt of the University of Sheffield, said that it is possible that the dots and any non-figurative arts were created by Neanderthals and the paintings of the animals by Homo sapiens.

I think this is a true and possibly correct statement to make. Maybe Neanderthals did paint the most simplest of art but this lead onto the Homo sapiens creating the images of the animals because they are more developed physically as well as mentally.
The supposed differences between the two races which are now linked with the paintings is the talk of a debate over what it means to be human – or a Homo sapien. There is a theory that it was an acceleration or cultural innovations that allowed humans to move into the territory that was occupied by the Neanderthals. But a question was raised of why this major cultural leap occurred so suddenly.

For modern humans, cave paintings may have been a part of the cultural package alongside musical instruments and sculptures of animals and humans. This research shows that our newly discovered evolutionary relatives, which have been considered as less intelligent than humans, are truly sophisticated thinks which were capable of social planning, symbolism and empathy.

Jess Phillips writes for This is Bingham

6 Great Pieces of Post-it® Note Art

Believe it or not, Post-it notes can make for a great form of art. Yes, you heard right! Whilst some artists prefer a blank canvas, newer artists are choosing this traditional piece of office stationary for their creativity.

Super Mario as post it notes - http://www.flickr.com/photos/uriel1998/6811249290/

Across the globe, these multi-coloured paper squares are being used in creative projects from stop-motion videos to fun and unique wall-art. Whether it’s in offices, homes or on the street, the Post-it art revolution seems to be making a huge impact. With this in mind, you’ll probably be asking yourself, what are the best pieces of Post-it art? Well get ready to be amazed as we take a closer look.

1. Post-it® Note Mario

First up on our list is the iconic 8-bit image of Mario, and a ‘power-up’ mushroom. Old computer games characters make for great Post-it Note art, as you’ll see later on, thanks to its pixelated look. This works perfectly to recreate your favourite computer games characters, which brings us on nicely to our second piece of Post-it art.

2. Computer Games Characters

From Sonic and Mario, to Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda, this creative genius decided to recreate them all using Post-it®Notes. Captured in these brilliant sped-up videos (so you don’t have to wait ages to see the final work of art), you’ll see the 8-bit characters from your favourite video games come to life.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu7YC0kaDbc

3. A Real-world Mario Level

If you thought an image of Mario was good, well check out this clip from Japan using stop-motion video. It’s an entire real-world Mario level, with all of your favourite characters, including Mario himself, a ‘power-up’ mushroom, coins, Koopa Troopa, Evil Mushroom and even the Warp Pipe. It must have taken days, if not weeks to create, and for that we are truly grateful because this is a great piece of alternative art – especially if you love Mario. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAue4hnH8-A

4. Deadline Post-it® Note Stop Motion

Probably the best example of stop-motion art work using Post-it notes is this masterpiece from art-student Bang-Yap Liu. You probably won’t find a more intricate, yet extremely stylish Post-it stop motion movie anywhere else; it’s truly set the benchmark for any other Post-it artists out there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BpWM0FNPZSs#!

5. Extreme Sticky Note Experiments

Now, when it comes to creating video-art, there’s more to Post-it® Notes than stop-motion. Whilst that’s an incredible art form in itself, these guys have created something just as clever. The best way to describe it is by imagining if your book of Post-it notes were a slinky. Now imagine hundreds of multi-coloured Post-it notes, carefully choreographed to create a stunning moving visual; all set in the office environment. Kudos to the creators, it’s breath taking. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1rZqw5bXb4

Marilyn Monroe post it note art - http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-46255784446. Famous Faces

When it comes to wall-art, what better way of showing off your creativity than with a mural of someone famous? The below image of Marilyn Monroe is one of our favourites. Not only does it encompass the creativity that can be achieved with Post-it art, but it’s also a great pastiche of the famous Andy Warhol pop-art piece.

That makes up our favourite 6 pieces of Post-it art. Wall-art, videos, and stop-motion; a wide range of mediums can help to create iconic and stimulating art, but what do you think? Do you agree with our selections, or are there some pieces and artists out there that deserve more recognition? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below, we’d love to hear from you.

This guest post was provided by 3M Direct, the official online store for 3M products in the UK.

How to Create an Ancient Atmosphere through Interior Design and Art

When designing modern interiors, inspiration is often derived from historic designs and artefacts. There is something so calming and elegant about recreating an ancient theme in a modern environment.

Ancient DesignHarmony in Design

Interior design that has developed from Roman and Greek design is known as ‘Classic Interior Design’. Tradition is the focus when recreating this design, as modern influences can often detract from the intended atmosphere, and clash with the proposed theme.

There is a danger of this design coming across as dated, or even corny, if your ideas run too wild. Try to concentrate on the simple elements that make up the design and the period that it comes from.

Focus on the Bigger Things

A focus, or focal point, is an important aspect of this theme for your interior. The Greeks and Romans rarely did things on a minimal scale!

Think big, and consider what your focus in the room should be. Maybe a grand staircase or a picturesque fireplace- whatever you decide on, you need your focal point to be striking.

Symmetry and Strategy

Now you have an idea of your focal point, everything else in the room can be placed to enhance it. For example, large vases or columns might be used as a reflection of the period that you are recreating. The Ancients who inspired this classic design took their inspiration from nature itself, so earth shades of colour such as terracotta, and heavy greens, yellows, browns and blues are commonly used.

Symmetry is another aspect of this design that needs to be immaculate in order to pull off the desired atmosphere. From the décor to the lighting, everything needs to be strategically placed in order for one side of the room to reflect the other.

Aspects of Ancient Design

Seeing ideas become a reality is one of the most rewarding aspects of designing an interior. The above tips for achieving the desired theme are just starting points. As the ideas stir in your mind, recognise that there are endless possibilities to what you can set out to create.

The ability to use/interest in using historic designs to inspire an interior in a modern society shows the impact that the people of our past still have on the designs of today.

Many Greek and Roman designs are so magnificent and intricate, that we cannot help but take inspiration.

Mysteries of The Last Supper

The Last Supper, by  Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the most famous paintings ever created. This painting is a large fresco on a wall in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie, Milan, Italy. However this is not a true fresco because it was in fact painted on a dry wall instead of wet plaster. Unfortunately as time has gone on people have attempted to restore it – not always very sucessfuly! It took three years to actually complete, with da Last SupperVinci choosing to work on many other pieces at the same time.

The Last Supper

The painting represents the scene of The Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples and Leonardo depicts the consternation that occurred among the Twelve Disciples when Jesus announced that one of them would betray him. Altogether within the painting that we can see there are thirteen people. Presumably the figure of Judas Escariot to the right of Christ, as he was still present at the meal. Some people have thought that Mary Magdalene was sitting to the left of Christ in the painting, but this is a contradiction since there had to be twelve disciples, and she was not one of them.

It is rather interesting to see that with Christ as the centre piece, how he is in fact well framed by the doorway. This provides a contrast between his figure and the outside, as well as bringing out eye to the most important figure on the piece of artwork.

One interesting fact is that there are lines of perspective that radiate from Christ’s head, indicating that he is the focal point of the painting. These perspective lines blend in with the ceiling and walls.

His arms, head and body form a triangle, as well as the space on the left hand side between him and the figure to his left. The disciples are also nicely arranged into groups of three along the length of the table.The painting also makes us feel as if we too are a part of it. This formula has actually been copied

The Last Supper during WWII
A structure was made to protect the painting – picture shows bomb damage in 1943

and become the standard for symbolic paintings even up to this very day.

Summary

Leaving aside the poor standard of restorations, the piece is still rather amazing to look at, and provides an inspired look into the genius of the great da Vinci. It was also a painting that would inspire new artists to aspire to, in terms of looking at perspective and presentation. It certainly was a turning point in art history that directed art onto a newer and more realistic path. As early as 1517 the painting was starting to flake and in fewer than 60 years Leonardo’s biographer Giorgia Vasari described the painting as “ruined”!

This article has been written by Sean Alder the website editor at WPD

The World Is Your Canvas – 4 Interesting Surfaces To Paint On

When you think art and paintings, probably the first thing that comes into your mind is a pristine white canvas or a sheet of paper, isn’t it? Well, this article is about some other infamous unconventional surfaces for you to chuck some paints at and make it look as creative and interesting as the painting itself. If painting is your thing and if you take it as a serious hobby, painting on different surfaces can give you a brilliant opportunity to experiment and come up with something extraordinary. Glass painting artHere are a few such interesting surfaces for you to dab your brushes at:

Glasspainting

Glass can prove to be a fantastic surface for you to showcase your creativity. Be it your bedroom window, a bottle or a vase made of glass, a glass cabinet, a lampshade or simply a sheet of plain glass that you wish to get framed, glass paintings can look amazingly beautiful and can make your home look aesthetically brighter. However, you will have to make sure you use glass paints which are specially meant for making glass paintings. So next time you visit a stationery shop, don’t forget to pick up a few!

Art painted on rocksRock painting

Rock art is by no means, a contemporary concept. In fact, rock art can easily be known as one of the oldest forms of art known to mankind. There are rock paintings, rock carvings, inscriptions, and sculptures that date back as early as the Upper Paleolithic period, i.e., almost 50,000 to 10,000 years ago. All these forms of rock art created by our ancestors, have led to the concept of modern-day rock painting. So as long as you have a smooth rock to paint on, a handful of acrylic paints and some brushes, you are ready to paint! You can also try painting some cute designs, prints, cartoons etc. on pebbles or stones in your backyard, for a start.

Painted body artBody art

Body art is manifested in many creative forms. Some enjoy painting their faces for a fancy dress party, some might go in for a henna print on their hands, some fancy getting their entire body painted while some go on to get their bodies inked permanently, in the form of tattoos. Body art is also used popularly by artists, dancers and performers. Like rock painting, even body painting has been around for a long time. Long before the concept of modern body painting came into existence, tribals of almost all communities around the globe have used natural colors, clay, mud etc. to paint their bodies as a part of tradition or culture.

Wall graffiti artGraffiti – art on public walls

Graffiti is essentially a form of art which involves drawings or messages painted on walls or surfaces in a public place. Graffiti can range from detailed wall paintings to simple words or messages. Graffiti is known to have existed since ancient times, with a few paintings dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Though there are countries which appreciate and allow graffiti art, there are some countries where graffiti on public walls is considered illegal, while some countries have designated walls and areas exclusively for graffiti artists.
These were some remarkable examples to prove that indeed, for a true artist the world is a canvas. Literally, as long as you have your paints, your brushes, and the desire to paint, you’ll automatically find a surface.

Author Bio:

Alex Hales is a sketch artist and runs an art gallery by the name of Bradshaw Rock Art. He conducts frequent exhibitions of his work and is extremely good in his craft and has won many honours and titles for his exemplary work.

 

The Many Faces of Engraved Art

Engraving – the art of making marks on a hard surface – often gets overlooked in favour of more mainstream visual arts like painting and sculpture. But, the fact is, engraving is one of the oldest forms of human creativity, dating back thousands of years ago to prehistoric times.

Engraving was widely used to illustrate books and newspapers, prior to photographic reproduction, and was elevated to the status of fine art by the insightful works of Albert Durer. Nowadays, computer-controlled engraving enables us to create our own personalised engraved gifts out of practically any metal or glass object.

In this guest post for BigArt, I shed some light on three famous engravings from the history of humankind.

Newspaper Rock, Utah

Art, several thousands years oldDating back in some cases to over 12,000 years, petroglyphs are ancient prehistoric rock carvings, which can be found in almost every country in the world. These take the form of marks and symbols made on the surface layer of boulders and rock faces to reveal the coloured layer of rock underneath.

Named after the Greek words petra (stone) and glyphen (to carve) this form of engraving is remarkable for the similarities in the types of figures appearing across geographically diverse locations. Some say this is evidence of Jung’s theory that all human brains have an underlying structure, causing us to think the same way and draw the same things.

Whether or not this is true, I don’t know. But petroglyphs seem to indicate the emergence of human creativity, a secret language, or simply Stone Age man’s desire to assert ‘I woz ere.’  There are many opportunities to see this unique phenomenon around the world, among the most impressive being Newspaper Rock in Utah, which contains the largest collection of petroglyphs known to man.

Albrecht Durer ‘Melencolia I’

Albrecht durer melencoliaFast-forward a few thousand years, and the art form of engraving really took off with the work of Albrecht Durer in the Renaissance period. Durer’s insightful ‘Melencolia I’ functions much like a doctor’s assessment, methodically diagnosing the symptoms of melancholia (or depression) for all to see.

The central figure adopts a pose of head resting on hand, commonly expressing a troubled mind in sixteenth century portraiture. At her feet lie the unused tools of discovery and creation. Keys and a money bag at her belt symbolise power and wealth. Her bright eyes glare out from the darkness, indicating intelligence and ability.

She is the sad and gifted intellectual, with a great deal of potential but the mysterious inability to realise it. A bat-like creature hovers in the sky with a sign to diagnose the condition, as if to say, “Yes madam, you’re suffering from a severe case of melancholia.”

Droeshout’s Shakespeare

Shakespeare Portrait - not the highest quality artwork that you will ever seeBefore the invention of photographic techniques, engravings were commonly used instead of paintings to illustrate books and newspapers. Among the most famous is Martin Droeshout’s portrait of Shakespeare for the title page of his First Folio – one of only two known portraits of the poet.

Droeshout’s skill as an engraver is undeniable, but his claim as an artist is much more open to question. Critics have often wondered how such an inadequate portrait could have been selected to illustrate such an important book!

The relationship between Shakespeare’s head and body is clumsy to say the least. And, to put it more bluntly, in the words of critic Northrop Frye, the portrait ‘makes Shakespeare look like an idiot’. There is also some speculation as to whether the engraver was actually the younger Martin Droeshout or his father of the same name.

 

Gerhard Richter – $34 million art

Despite being one of the richest rock stars in the entire world, the celebrity guitar play Eric Clapton is actually one of the savviest collectors of modern art. Eric, who has already previously had a net worth of an astonishing $200 million, is now more than $30 million richer after a rather competitive auction of various paintings from his personal art collection last year on October 15th 2012. One particular interesting piece of artwork, made by paint Gerhard Richter from Germany, sold more higher than twice the original ideal listing price after a hot bid war between several anonymous wealthy art fans.

Gerhard Richter painting
$34 million artwork by Gerhard Richter

Successfully this piece of artwork actually set a record for the most amount of money ever paid for a piece of artwork by a living artist.

Considered to be one of the greatest guitar players ever if not the best by many rock fans, Eric Clapton actually studied at The Kingston College Of Art in 1961 before leaving to take on music full time. Although pursuing music full time, Eric never lost his appreciation and interest for artwork and began investing in his interest whenever extra money rolled in. Throughout the years he has owned and sold dozens of very high profile paintings that have been valued at millions.

Before the weekend of the auction in October 2012, Sotheby’s which is situated in London reviewed the painting and estimated that Eric Clapton’s pieces, which was a 1994 oil canvas painting by the German artist Gerhard Richter would sell for a massive $14 million. Clapton only purchased the painting for $3.2 million in 2001 therefor selling it for this much would have been pretty something special.

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton, art collector!

As the auction began, a hard five minutes of a bidding war broke out between three art collectors (obviously very wealthy!) Finally when the bidding war ended the winning bid was for $34,190,756. That is actually more than double the original expected price for the sale and is representing a 965% return in money For Eric himself in just ten years. A world record was also set because $34 million is the highest amount of money ever paid for a living artist, which beats the $28 million someone paid for Jasper John’s work called ‘Flag’. Gerald Richter who  is 82 years of age has long been considered to be one of the greatest artists in the world!

Author : Sean Alder Editor Of YourCeleb.co.uk

5 London Artworks You Must See

London is undoubtedly one of the best cities in the world for art lovers, with many galleries and spaces exhibiting contemporary, modern and traditional work. If you’re interested in contemporary art, the Saatchi Gallery is a good starting point; modern art fans will be impressed by the Tate Modern; while those looking for traditional would do well to explore the National Gallery. However, on a short trip to the capital, it can be hard to fit everything in. That’s why I’ve put together this list of five must-see artworks, which are all completely free to view in person.

‘The Rokeby Venus’ at the National GalleryVelazquez Rrokeby Venus - London artworks

Diego Velazquez, 1651

The National Gallery contains many great European paintings from the 13th to 19th centuries, including this famous work by Velazquez, ‘The Rokeby Venus’. A rare subject in 17th century Spain, the female nude is Venus the Goddess of Love, while her son Cupid holds up a mirror. The painting is notable for its portrayal of Venus as a real woman and raises questions about gender due to the fact that Venus is not looking at herself in the mirror, but at us, the viewer. For some, the piece interrogates the notion of the ‘male gaze’: the male viewer looks at the female subject, while she looks back at him, taking pleasure in being looked at by the man.

‘The Great Wave’ at the British MuseumHolusai, the great wave - London artworks

Katsushika Hokusai, 1831

‘The Great Wave’ is the most famous woodblock print by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai and perhaps the most famous Japanese print in history. It depicts a giant wave dwarfing a tiny snow-capped Mount Fuji in the distance, while three fishing boats battle to traverse its mountainous peaks. Part of the print’s appeal is the way that it inverts the formula of the meisho-e tradition, which typically features Mount Fuji at the centre of the composition. The image was printed in its thousands in polychrome ink – as many as could be produced to meet demand – and has inspired many great artists throughout the ages, including Claude Debussy, who made it the cover image for the first edition of ‘The Sea’. Visitors would do well to visit the British Museum for an almost immodestly vast collection of interesting artefacts and objects gathered from different cultures and traditions.

‘J.K. Rowling’ at the National Portrait GalleryPortrait of JK Rowling - London art

Stuart Pearson Wright, 2005
The National Portrait Gallery contains an excellent collection of paintings and photographic works of people that have made Britain ‘Great’ over the years. One of the highlights is Wright’s enchanting portrait of Harry Potter creator J.K.Rowling, depicted in a humble domestic setting where she wrote much of her first novel. Rowling eats a boiled egg with toast soldiers, the three eggs on her plate representing her own children and perhaps children the world over whose imaginations have been touched by the Harry Potter series. The altered reality of the 3D space recalls another children’s classic, Alice in Wonderland, suggesting perhaps the slightly paradoxical notion of combining motherhood with a creative career.

The Crane on Hanbury StreetROA Crane - London art scene

Roa, 2010

East London’s walls have rarely been empty, and now is an ideal time to check out the ever-changing work on display by some of the world’s best street artists. Highlights include a giant 40-foot sacred crane painted by Belgian street artist Roa on a building in Hanbury Street, right in the heart of the Bengali community. The crane is one of several vivacious black and white animals of his dotted around the city, including a much-loved rabbit on Hackney Road and a newly-painted hedgehog on Chance Street. These creatures jump out at us off the walls, confronting us with our relationship to the natural world – something that can easily be forgotten in the city. For those wishing to experience more, Street Art London runs a 4-hour guided tour of the area every Saturday and Sunday, taking in Old Street, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green.

‘The Snail’ at Tate ModernMatisse the snail - London contemporary art

Henri Matisse, 1953

Housed in the Tate Modern, the most visited modern art museum in the world, Matisse’s late period masterpiece ‘The Snail’ is another must-see artwork in the Big Smoke. Made towards the end of his life when ill health prevented him from painting, Matisse had assistants cut out and paint giant gouache shapes to exact specifications, before having them mounted on a piece of paper nearly three metres square. The artist is said to have conceived the idea for the piece after watching his daughter draw snails in the garden, and the result is a bold, beautiful piece which lies somewhere between abstract painting and design. Whether or not ‘The Snail’ is as good as his earlier paintings is for you to decide, but there’s no denying its visual impact and childlike simplicity.

Matt writes for HotelClub, a leading provider of discounted London hotels.

Guide to Properly Storing Your Art

Storing your art
Image by Art Collection 75 of the artist Jurgen Borgers and licensed through Creative Commons.

Nothing sets the tone of your home or speaks to your artistic fashion more than oil paintings. Situations like moving, remodeling, or changing artwork; however, may make it necessary for you to find out more about art canvas storage. When stored properly, your oil paintings will last for a very long time, making canvas oil paintings a very good investment.

Renting a Storage Unit

Storage units provide an immediate solution for your art canvas storage needs. With availability in most cities and towns, a storage unit can provide short or long term storage at a reasonable price. You will want to make sure that the unit you select meets criteria important for storing artwork. Learn more about how to choose the best lock for your storage unit here.

  • The unit that you select should be climate controlled. Excessive cold, heat, and moisture can damage your paintings. Selecting a unit that has a consistent temperature and humidity will help keep your paintings in pristine condition. The ideal unit is cool, dark, and dry.
  • Check for signs of insect infestation. You want to make sure that the storage unit is free of insects. Some insects actually eat the canvas or the frame. Insect droppings also contain an acid that damages paint.
  • Make sure that your paintings are stored standing upright. Leaning paintings have a greater chance of being dented or scratched.

Proper Protection

Knowing the proper way to protect your paintings makes your art canvas storage easier and helps prevent unnecessary damage to your artwork.

  • The best way to protect your canvas is to frame it. A frame provides a sturdy surface that protects against bent edges and chipped paint.
  • Place polystyrene between your paintings. Polystyrene is a foam that can be found at hardware stores. It helps to prevent scratches and keeps dust from accumulating.

Do’s and Don’ts

Knowing a few helpful hints will help keep your artwork in its original condition and allow you to enjoy it for years to come.

  • Do remove dust from the canvas as soon as you realize that dust has accumulated. Use a clean, dry, white, cotton cloth and gently sweep the dust off of the surface.
  • Do not store your oil paintings in plastic of any kind. Plastic wrap and plastic boxes trap moisture and moisture is your paintings’ worst enemy.
  • Do use a wet canvas carrier for any canvas that has not had time to sufficiently dry. Once the canvas has dried, protect it using the steps listed.
  • If you have a lot of oil paintings, do consider using a numbering system in combination with the proper storage methods. Numbering and photographing your paintings provides an extra level of security in case something should happen to your paintings while in storage. Your insurance agent will thank you for having such detailed records.

All of the tips listed will help you keep your artwork nice, but the best storage suggestion is to hang your oil paintings. Hung on an interior wall away from direct sunlight, your oil paintings will last and be enjoyed by generations of family and friends.

Paul Benjamin works for EZ Storage, a company providing clean and secure self storage units in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Missouri